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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Kwik Save shops sold in 18m deal
Kwik Save store
The chain has struggled against cheaper rivals
The administrators of supermarket chain Kwik Save say they have sold 56 of the firm's stores for 18m, saving about 600 jobs.

It is understood that the deal has been backed by the Irish retail entrepreneur Brendan Murtagh.

The outlets will be rebranded as Fresh Express with staff at those outlets being paid in arrears on Tuesday.

Kwik Save entered administration on Friday and will close 90 shops, making about 1,100 people redundant.

Those losing their jobs are unlikely to be paid by administrators and will have to make claims to the government for statutory redundancy pay.

Tracey Sandiford
I asked 'Are you shutting us down?' to which she replied 'Yes', nearly in tears
Tracey Sandiford

Many staff had worked unpaid for the last six weeks in the hope that the chain could be saved from administration.

KPMG has set up a free helpline for Kwik Save staff on 0800 3777 302.

'Fighting back'

One worker said she and her colleagues had been let down by management and treated "like numbers".

"I am going to fight for my redundancy money," Amanda Higgins, from Liverpool, told the BBC.

"I am not going to let it lie."

Kwik Save had already closed 81 of its branches as it struggled to compete with low-cost rivals, such as Aldi and Lidl, and its market share fell to 0.2%.

Shop workers' union Usdaw said that staff in stores earmarked for closure would be "devastated" by the news.

"Our members will be feeling totally let down by Kwik Save," Joanne McGuinness, the union's national officer said.

"They have shown incredible strength and resilience in trying to keep the company alive and have had to rely on handouts from relatives. Some have faced losing their homes."

Redundant staff will probably have to apply to the government to receive some of the money they are owed, although they would probably be able to claim only up to 240 a week.

The future of Kwik Save has been uncertain since it was sold by Somerfield group to BTTF 12 weeks ago.

In the 12 weeks to 20 May, Kwik Save had just a 0.2% share of the UK supermarket spend, according to TNS Worldpanel, against 0.8% in the same period a year before.


Kwik Save's falling market share


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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kwik Save staff express their dismay at lack of pay



SEE ALSO
Kwik Save enters administration
06 Jul 07 |  Business
Court delays Kwik Save decision
15 Jun 07 |  Business
Hearing to decide Kwik Save fate
15 Jun 07 |  Business
Kwik Save to reopen closed stores
12 Jun 07 |  West Yorkshire
Kwik Save to close down 79 shops
29 May 07 |  Business
New owner for Somerfield stores
21 Dec 05 |  Business

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